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I verbally accepted a job on 5/6/2015. The manager looked over my resume and said that I just need to fill out an online application. He sent an email to HR and said that I verbally accepted, so we need to get the process going. The manager said that I would start this upcoming Monday. I talked with the HR guy and he said that he still needs to call my references and that I will get a letter saying that I got accepted, but I still need to do my drug test and everything before Monday and I've got to work tomorrow and Friday at my current job.

I have no idea what to do. Is this normal?

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A rule of thumb I have always used - if I don't have written confirmation of an offer, I don't have an offer. I never give notice to my previous job until I have in writing (which may be an email) that I have an offer that includes:

  • Start Date (negotiated based on my notice period at the date I will give notice)
  • Salary
  • Number of hours per day/week
  • Duration if a contract

This normally does not get issued until after the reference and background checks are complete. It can take weeks, depending on the organisation. But until then and only then will I give notice at my previous job.

To specifically answer the question, "Is this normal?" my answer is to not put yourself in the risky position of having resigned with no firm commitment to employ you.

  • 1
    To continue this forward: if you have not resigned you will still have to work at your old place, so you cannot actually start in the new job. Bring that point across to the new company: They cannot ask you to take the risk of being between jobs - it is up to them to bend their own rules and procedures if they want to have you aboard this fast. – user8036 May 15 '15 at 9:43
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Yes, this is normal at least in USA. Hiring Manager (or HR) needs to get the reference letters (or talk with your references directly) and as well as need to have your drug test results for generating an official offer letter. Moreover, they also might do a background check -- it is basically checking your educational qualifications and previous job experience details. i.e., confirming whatever you have written on your resume. At big companies, typically generating an offer letter takes a significant amount of time.

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    Born and raised in the US. I think this is common in regards to the hiring process, but as far as the timetable it seems incredibly rushed. It is very strange that the hiring manager didn't clear it with HR first. The only time I've ever heard or had anything like this happen to me it was for a low pay, revolving door job when I was still starting out. If OP is really interested I would advise to hold off and make sure it clears with their HR AND you have the letter in hand. – zfrisch May 15 '15 at 6:03
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    ^+ And, honestly, put in notice with your current job unless it's a job you plan on never referencing in the future. If the new HR doesn't permit that you probably don't want to work with them anyway. – zfrisch May 15 '15 at 6:06
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This is common enough especially in medium or large companies that have multiple layers of bureacracy and established hiring processes. Keeping open lines of communication is always helpful. This can be done by asking the HR rep if there is anything more you can do to be helpful in the process and letting them guide you from there. If they give you directions, follow them. If they give a general answer ask them when would be the next convenient time to follow up with them. This allows them to set the timeframe for making the next contact so you don't have to feel like you're bugging them when you follow up. I hope this is helpful.

  • This is common enough especially in medium or large companies I don't know about medium companies. Large companies have rigorous processes. The hiring manager of a large company won't say when to start the new job before the HR approve the offer. On the other hand, this happens in small companies very often because many of them don't even have procedures/processes for hiring people. – scaaahu May 15 '15 at 4:30

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